Wahine artists are taking over the Hastings City Art Gallery with works celebrating local and national history.

During the next month a live theatre performance will complement two new exhibitions being installed at the gallery to commemorate the 176th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi signing.

Local playwright Puti Lancaster spent much of her summer working on her new performance piece, River Seeds.

It is based on stories and histories of the women of Heretaunga, and explores what sovereignty has meant to them.

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She interviewed three generations of women and interpreted their experiences and encounters with the Treaty of Waitangi.

"It has been interesting the way that women bring their individual voice forward - it is often very indirect and the challenge is to configure that in a way that audiences can relate to," Ms Lancaster said.

Settlement by Emily Karaka explores the Crown's settlement process, old land claims and Turton Deeds transactions which alienated lands and islands from the Tribes of Tamaki.

The second exhibition is the multi-media Waitangi Wahine featuring five Mana Wahine artists.

Waitangi Wahine curator Chriss Doherty-McGregor from Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre said it showcased some of the most reputable Mori woman artists in New Zealand.

"Essentially this group of work is in response to the impact of the Treaty and its effect on Maori today," she said.

"It makes you think about the Treaty and what it means, and what it has meant for us as a nation, both Mori and Pakeha."

- Waitangi Wahine and Settlement will be open from January 30 to April 3.

- River Seeds will be performed once on February 6, and twice on February 7. Tickets are a donation, but as spaces are limited please book by phone on 871 5095, or email hastingsartgallery@hdc.govt.nz.